Declutter

((Check out the beauty outside our back door today! We haven’t had much of a winter and this snow is much-loved.))

When I originally started this blog many years ago, I was blissfully unaware of IMPACT.

Our impact on the environment with our waste.

Our impact on each other with our actions.

Our impact on our kids’ lives by our example of living.

For the past year or so, I’ve been on a journey of rediscovery, simplifying and focus. I realized that we were living in our home, but not truly LIVING here. We were surrounded by clutter, small and large, business and personal, stuff that belonged to kids and adults. I didn’t pay much attention to it until I had a glass-shattering moment, ala How I Met Your Mother (the episode called “Spoiler Alert”)- I realized that if our house were to suddenly be gone, there were very few things I’d be devastated about.

With this realization, Terry and I began to evaluate what was in our home. We consulted a variety of decluttering “experts”, including blogs, books, audiobooks, the list goes on. I craved more inspiration to start purging and simplifying. I was ready to bag up 80% of our possessions right then.

It was so daunting.

I was so overwhelmed.

I stared at my bedroom closet, the laundry room, the garage. Each time I walked into a room, I was anxious and had no idea how to start. I didn’t see a large, neon sign pointing at my belongings, shouting in blinking lights “MINIMIZE THIS FIRST” and I froze. I stressed, I worried, I felt guilty considering throwing our toys, papers, knick-knacks, anything that someone might say “what happened to X?”

As I battled inwardly on how to get rid of stuff, I stuck to my normal routine. As I was folding laundry, I saw one of Terry’s T-shirts had a hole in it, beyond the point of quick repair. “Time to turn this into rags”, I thought. And then it hit me. This was how I should start!

Luckily, it was the weekend and Terry was home to help, so we emptied all the clothes from our closet and dressers. The kids stared at their crazy parents, then went into their rooms to empty their own closets and dressers (well, Linc had a little help from his sisters). This follows the KonMari method (though I didn’t start following her system until later). We sorted out anything that was ripped, stained, out of style or hadn’t been worn in 6+ months. We made an exception for special items (my wedding dress, etc) but otherwise we were tough on the sorting.

We rid ourselves of two massive black trash bags worth of clothing plus a box stuffed full of donations. None of us ever missed a single item.

Feeling liberated, we relaxed for a moment. Then, Terry and I looked into our closet and saw how much non-clothing stuff had infiltrated. How had this happened?

Easily, unfortunately. Company coming over? Just toss it into our bedroom to hide it. Oh it’s bedtime and we didn’t clean it up? Just toss it into the closet and we’ll take care of it tomorrow.

TOMORROW.

Tomorrow turned into the weekend which turned into 6 months later and the stuff is still there. We were too close to bath/ bedtime and there was no way we could tackle this project on the same day, so we begrudgingly hung and folded all of our remaining clothes to return to the closet/ dressers and closed the door.

We eventually tackled the closet (though it’s become a catch-all AGAIN) as well as plenty of other spaces. We methodically worked through one room after another and while we aren’t 100% where we want to be, we have really made progress.

Are you ready to start on your decluttering journey and not sure where or how to start?

Try this: pick one room, one space, one focus. Take 30 minutes and remove all the trash/ recycle from that space. If you still have time left in your 30 minutes, remove anything that does not belong in that space and return it to it’s “home”. If you STILL have time left, look around the room/ space and decide what is important for you to have in that place, determine what belongs there. Make a list if you need to. Don’t overwhelm yourself.

Start small and don’t let yourself get caught up on the “there’s so much stuff!” aspect. Focus on pieces of the puzzle and it will all slowly fall into place!

More soon,
Caroline :)

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